The Tragic History of Ireland – part 1

Today was all about history, and by the end of it we were able to hold most of it in our minds.  But first we walked down to the end of the street to Trinity College and the Book of Kells.  (This is history, too, of course, but very different from the rest.)

Before you see the Book, you go through a very informative display about the history and making, including a hypnotic little video showing someone very slowly sharpening a pen, dipping it in ink and scratching out a few lines.  Then you enter a darkened room where two quartos are open and you can view two pages close up.  A very helpful guide pointed out a couple things we might have missed:   each page was finished with an egg white wash that gives it a nice sheen, and one of the vellum pages had been flayed too hard and developed a hole.  The monks had cleverly painted a design on the following page that shows through and makes the hole less noticeable.  I always like an enthusiastic person who wants to share the information.

From here we walked up the stairs to the Old Library, which is one of the great libraries I’ve seen.  Dark, dark wood, lots of book ladders, books crammed onto the shelves, high ceiling – well, just take a look.

An additional treat was an exhibit of children’s books based on mythology. Everything from Harry Potter to Alan Garner and Susan Cooper was on display, a visit with some of my old friends.

Though viewing the actual book is jokingly referred to as the biggest anitclimax in Dublin, it was worth a visit.  Here is AO looking happy after viewing the BOK.AtKells

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